PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Jason Day received a warm reminder Friday at Pebble Beach how good it feels to hit shots the way he wants, make a bunch of putts and see his name high on the leaderboard.
Day made two long birdie putts across the green, holed a 40-yard wedge for eagle on the dangerous par-5 14th, made a couple of big par saves and moved into contention with an 8-under 64 in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
He was two shots behind Nick Taylor of Canada, who birdied four of his last five holes at Pebble Beach for a 66 to take his first 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour.
Taylor was at 14-under 129.
“I feel like it's been a long time since I've actually been out there and felt the way that I felt out there today and played well like that,” Day said.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson also got in the mix with aburst of four straight birdies after the turn at Monterey Peninsula. He made bogey on the long par-3 ninth to finish his round of 7-under. He was three shots behind.
Mickelson has not had a top 10 on the PGA Tour since winning at Pebble Beach last year, though he finished third last week at the Saudi International and carried a little momentum into the event he has won five times.
Day knows the feeling. Since last year at Pebble, the former world No. 1 has recorded just three top 10s, none since last June. He has not seriously contended. His back troubles have been so frustrating that at times he wondered how much longer he wanted to play. He described those at “dark times.”